January 23, 2013

“word to the wise” wednesday: ann pyne

I call this a “decorating room” because it all “goes” together — an idea now looked down upon as “matchy-matchy.”  But the process of making it go together is essentially at the heart of decorating and design, whether the end result is obvious, as in the case of this guest room, or more subtle, as in the case of more important rooms.  How is that for a bit of pompous editorializing!  To add: I hate the notion, now quite in vogue, of just plopping something into a room that doesn’t relate to anything else in the room and proclaiming it “unexpected.”

— Ann Pyne (House Beautiful, February 2013)

I’ll admit that — despite the predominance of eclecticism over the past few years — I like a room that “goes” together.  Perhaps that’s why God gave me twin boys.  Ha!

How do you feel about a bit of “matchy-matchy”?

Please pick up the latest issue of House Beautiful, because this article is a must read!   


  • Tawna Allred
    Jan. 23, 2013
    Amen to that quote! How else do you get a room to go together? If it really works, something "goes together". The really good designers just know how to do it without being super obvious/stale :).
  • Rae English
    Jan. 23, 2013
    Matchy-matchy has never appealed to me. Well, wait. There was the 80s Prep faze, but if John Hughes memorialized it in film, and it's now revered as pop culture relic, then I guess it was acceptable. Personally, the room makes me wonder if someone never outgrew her 7th grade obsession with purple. Not to my taste at all. Matchy-matchy communicates a stasis in design maturity. You know, like smart young women who seem to repeatedly be attracted to boys instead of equally smart young men. You just want to give the young women a little shove away from all that silliness. I prefer the term complementary, which is about enhancing or emphasizing qualities in relationships, and isn't design about relationships? Complementary resists design fad (and by design I mean all areas of design). It seems to me, Traci, you do a fabulous job of finding a piece or two that tastefully welcomes what is current, respects your client's taste, and challenges the client to a higher level of aestheticism, but said piece(s) don't overwhelm the aesthetic of the space. I think it was Gracie Allen who suggested that before stepping out for the day/evening, a lady should stop briefly in front of the mirror. The first thing her eyes go to should be removed--unless it is her blouse or skirt, of course ;) Allen suggested that the subtleties are what makes something come together. You walk away having had an experience that was delightful and intriguing, and only when you walk away do you wonder about the je ne sais quoi. Traci, you create that in each room you design: lovely spaces that make one wonder what exactly makes it so pleasing.
  • Annie Vincent
    Jan. 23, 2013
    I just love and appreciate it all! Great design can be found everywhere!
  • Hannah Dee
    Jan. 24, 2013
    This room is in no way boring. Great mix of texture, shape and pattern. And I like a room that goes together too...
  • “word to the wise” wednesday – susanna salk
    Jan. 30, 2013
    [...] [...]

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